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Review: THE TREESOME CAFÉ

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Fusion

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Here, in rocking Versova ( Oooh! I love Versova) I am bopping around the globe in the ten day old “The Treesome Café”. While the food itinerary is not coherent, the trip is a lot of fun. As our my Versovite guests. Foodies to the core (one is a budding chef) they not only love checking out new restaurants but also live next door to this one. It’s a fun yet inspirational evening, as in these selfish and materialistic times, it is a joy to meet selfless crusaders.

Be it the lovely Natasha Sara owner of an eclectic hair studio (which combines hair fashion with spiritual wellbeing guidance for body mind spirit) Or her friend and brilliant criminal lawyer Suman Prasad. Together, for the past three years, they have taken on the welfare of an abandoned old lady in Versova. The crusading twosome is doing this through the law and government in order to help many other senior citizens in this similar plight. Having trained as a chef, Asmita Prasad gives us her culinary insights to the food here. They all live close by and are sure to be regulars at this new Versova Cafe.

DECOR

Pleasant. A fairly small, boxed in airconditioned area and an alfresco one (total of 1300 sq ft) are done up in casual, relaxed style. Two bars, exposed industrial- pipes look and tree mural on the wall complete the décor.

FOOD & DRINK

Be prepared to get your tastebuds assaulted, cajoled and seduced.Many a bar-bite and very few main courses serve up desi-global innovative flavors. South Indian masala infuses the delicious Rajnikanth omelette, while the butterchicken gives a  spicy charge to the bland risotto.Unerringly cooked plump garlic Barcelona prawns,  thermidor sauce drenched grilled fish delight. Flavorsome Goan prawn curry, chicken cafreal and must try Kheema pav too. Innovatively plated on trays made of grey slate (the dish of  yummy baby burgers is served under a bird cage. Pl see pic). Many a creative cocktail, try the chatpatta Jamun mojito.

MINUS POINTS

Uncomfy seating, big, fat sofas crammed into a small indoor space. Not enough vegetarian options (I am told they are adding to the veggie menu)  Indie steak (paneer and dal makhani) is a mish mash, the bhel lacks zing and the so called Maldivian fish cake Bokiba is lackluster and avoidable. Chewy Chicken

Gangnam Style ( served skewered in four fluted glasses). Stodgy Shroom cupcakes  and the pizza base not crisp enough. No beef  and only one pork dish. No desserts on the menu.

MY POINT

Open through the day, Treesome café (named after the fig tree outside) is more of a bar ( many an innovative cocktail) with many a bar bite.      Although the menu has weak spots, with a few  dishes not from the heart but from a marketing plan, the gifted chef Rohan DSouza’s (who has worked with Marco Pierre White)  cooking is exuberant and  reflects a steady, precise hand.

It’s mostly a mix of pubgrub  stalwarts  comfort foods, pizzas, burgers, bhel, kheema pao et al, creatively served (sometimes over the top). Beyond  bits of mild nonsense and odd affectation are real merit and considerable merriment.  Three cheers! Tree cheers!

THE TREESOME CAFE Jewel Shopping Centre,

Seven Bungalows, Andheri
Ph 60020202

Open noon to 1.30 am

Meal for two: Rs 2000

RATING FOOD 3.5 SERVICE 3.5 DÉCOR 3.5

 


 

YOUR REVIEWS OF TREESOME CAFÉ

Wow! Each one of you has made such insightful and relevant remarks (on instagram and twitter)  that I wish I could print them all. Sorry space constraints.

‏@andshesmiled1h

(Butterchicken risotto…

Ultimate indo-italian soul food)

mariyakach ( Rajnikant masala omlette is the yummiest. Great ambiance and food)

@waterdaughter1007

(YummmmYummmmYummmm…. And full of tasty fluff)

@npunjabi20

(Can eat yummiest Omlette and burger anytime of the day) @mansidavda

(Tasty Cupcake Shrooms , Orange & Lemon Grass Cooler)

@shyamalb

(Great place!! Amazing food )

The opinion was divided about the presentation (esp bird cage) many found it gimmicky, too loud,  others loved it.

@thebigbhookad@crazyloveshoes@voraviya@tarunkapoor11

@meghasarin @chicorychai@ekazloveatfirstbite

@yasmeengindodiya@antarazandc

@purplefoodie@mamatha_1@romakripalani

@cookingfiesta1  @ila_ii@ankitawagle

Thanks for your feedback @karanrajkohli @riotofflavours

@ankitawagle @simranimita @rajvi85

@pereiraaaron@d_diane@the_locamojo @shunzie

@vivekmittal23@poonampalnitkar

@saurabhhmehtalol@saumightsay

@dubai_fo0d @arunkatiyar

value your feedback. Instagram and twitter @rashmiudaysingh mail rashmiudaysingh2015@gmail.com. Waitingly yours

 

Gulnaz Ali’s Recipe – Banana Walnut Cake

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SAILING INTO HEALTH

Gulnaz and SamariaWhat on earth is this photo of a sailing regatta  doing in my Food column? The answer is simple, the young sailing champion Samaria is the inspiration and the reason behind her mother Gulnaz, baking the most unique and  healthy cakes. Having tasted Gulnaz’s baking in Chennai at our “Whats hot tasting session” I realized that I had not taken the recipe for her healthy cake. So when I called Gulnaz from Mumbai, they were in the midst of a sailing regatta in Hyderabad which the talented young Samaria was taking part in. I also requested for an on location photo. Voila! Thanks to high speed internet, here it is.

FROM BANKING TO BAKING

The multi-talented Gulnaz Ali having worked for more than ten years in a successful bankers job quit to take care of her daughter and turned to her other passion, baking. “I did this to keep my daughter’s sweet tooth satisfied”. And then ofcourse, ensured that she not only used the finest and freshest of ingredients but also the healthiest. Gulnaz’s healthy cakes are in great demand, as are her regular cakes.  She has studied baking and taken special fondant classes too. Ask for her scrumptious banana walnut cake. Amongst her regular cakes, it’s the   orange and a Almond cake, hazelnut chocolate cake and strawberry pies…which are her signatures. The recipe for Gulnaz’s part wholewheat cake follows, as do her tips for healthy baking.

GULNAZ ALI, 2/157 Karikata Kuppam, Muthukadu, Near Mayajaal, Chennai. Ph 9840943500/ gulnaz13@gmail.com

 


 

Gulnaz’s tips for healthy baking

*Use homemade cream cheese/ mascarpone cheese instead of store bought. This way you can keep a check on the amount of sugar in the product.

* Replace sugar with jaggery.

* Replace maida with wholewheat flour. Start with replacing 1/4 quantity in the recipe and slowly increase the amount of wholewheat flour used.


 

GULNAZ’S RECIPE

healthy cakePart wholewheat banana walnut cake.

Maida – 1 cup
Whole wheat flour – 1 cup
Baking soda – 1/2 tsp
Salt – 1/4 tsp
Banana - 2, large
Unsalted butter – 1/2 cup
Jaggery – 1/2 cup
Granulated sugar – 4 tbsp
Buttermilk – 1/2 cup
Vegetable oil – 4 tbsp
Egg – 2
Vanilla extract – 1 tsp
Chocolate chips and walnuts/ almonds – 1/2 cup



Preheat oven to 180C. Grease one 8 inch pan. 

Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt. In a separate large bowl, whisk together the banana, unsalted butter, jaggery, sugar, buttermilk, oil, eggs and vanilla extract until smooth. Pour the wet ingredients into the flour mixture and fold together with a rubber spatula until completely combined. Coat the chocolate chips with maida and mix into the batter. Pour the mixture into the greased pan and bake at 180C for 30 to 35 mins or till done when checked with a skewer.

 


 

YOUR ATTENTION PLEASE

Do you want to be featured in this column? Like Gulnaz Ali today. Then read on to find out more,The hunt is on, I am looking for baking and cooking talent. Do you bake or cook out of home and so so professionally? Do you know anyone who does so? Please do get in touch with me and we will invite you, along with some others for a “Whats hot tasting session”. After tasting your creations and chatting with you and photographing you, I will then write about you. Please do  email rashmiudaysingsingh2015@gmail.com with the subject CHENNAI FOODLINE. You can also tweet and instagram t @rashmiudaysingh.


FOODLINE

I write this from Gulmurg and I am delighted to hear from you on email, instagram and twitter. Thanks for keeping me plugged to the foodie network of Chennai. Love your foodie news and views…on foodstores, food services, dessert makers, caterers and more. Please do keep calling (9884065010 ) emailing (Rashmiudaysingh2015@gmail.com) tweeting, instagraming, FB (@rashmiudaysingh). Waitingly yours.

REVIEW: TIFFIN BOX ETC

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Indian multi-cuisine

Kya naam hai! Full marks. Can you think of a better name than “Tiffin box etc” for a casual eatery that swiftly serves many an Indian regional cuisine through the day and home delivers too? I have the perfect guests to help me check it out, not only  are they Sindhi, Maharashtrian and Gujrati but also well-traveled, discerning foodies.

Having just returned from Peru, they are planning their Belgrade and Iceland trip.

While Dr Raju Khubchandani has  pioneered pediatric rheumatology in India, writing is his passion and I am riveted by the iconic child-care book he is co-authoring with  Dr RK Anand. Shaila Khubchandani, a surgical pathologist of repute, actually finds interpreting Kidney biopsies relaxing as she does  looking after their home .We eat our way through the menu, our review follows…

 

DÉCOR

Doodh ka dabbas, bicycle tyres, kettles, caricatures  (you get the picture?) adorn the canteen-like space. Tables and benches, open kitchen, paper mats et al.

 

FOOD

They take the “etc” in their name very seriously and serve it all… from Awadh to Bengal to  South India  and even Birmingham, chaats, idli, upma etc etc. Surprisingly it’s the juicy, succulent kebabs (seekh and murg pudina tikka) that come up tops. Must trys…Robustly spiced Balti Birmingham curry,  flavorsome  Nalli Nihari and  Lamb Koshe Mangsho. Go for  the

Mustard infused rawas tikka (the most expensive dish at Rs350). However, the fish curry and the chicken makhanwala are just about okay, but the bhakri is superb.Wind up with the delightful Paan icecream and sugarfree gajjar halwa. VFM meal served in a tiffin box ( veg Rs 350, non veg Rs 420)  curry, dal, three chapatis, rice and a sweet. Lunch buffet (Rs 414 for 10 dishes) too.

 

 MINUS POINTS

Uncomfy seating. It can get very noisy.Patchy dishes lacking flavor.  Slushy Chettinad chicken, stodgy veg kabab.soggy chappatis  served in foil. But the biggest disappointments are the lackluster saibhaji  and the tasteless Sindhi curry. No alcohol.

 

MY POINT

This casual, quick service, open through the day, three month old Tiffin Box etc is somewhat light on the wallet ( Av meal for 2, Rs 1000) but can be heavy on the tummy with it’s many a curry and gravy. Its vast and ambitious menu tries to put all the complex cuisines of India into a Tiffin dabba and falters in doing so. While it does not warrant a special trip across town, Tiffin Box etc, a contemporary dhaba is perfect for a quick desi meal, snack etc for the office goers in the BKC vicinity.

Ground Floor, Naman Center, C 31, Next to Yauatcha, Block G- Bandra Kurla Complex, Bandra (E). Ph 61378080

Open 8 am to midnight

RATING FOOD 3 SERVICE 3.5 DÉCOR 3.5

MEAL FOR 2: Rs 1000

 


 

YOUR REVIEWS OF TBE

Value your twitter and instagram feedback. Please keep it coming (@rashmiudaysingh) @cityslicker_me (quick service, good chicken kolhapuri , dry  Dhokla quick cheapandcheerful  Indian meal)

voraviyaI (great for lunch) tableforone_pv (didn’t like the flavours at all.)

notjustanotherfoodie (Love the food, the   parathas,  dal makhani) @kalpitabhosale @mansidedhia1 (clichéd décor).

@voraviya (TBEs buffet is good!

 


RAMADAN KAREEN

May Allah shower you with miracles this holy month of Ramadan and always. I am writing this right after a  delicious Iftar dinner, thanks to  Janhavi and Shan Mohammed giving me the lead about  the brand new “Royal Flavors” (Oshiwara   26320600). So I called in for home-delivery (advance notice needed)  for a few of their signature dishes. It was the pounded meat and wheat Mutton haleem (Rs 245) the fragrant kache gosht ki biryani (Rs 290)   and flavorsome Khubani ka meetha (Rs 110) which worked the magic for us.

#WhatsHotTastingSession in Mumbai

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DESSERT MAKERS (WHO WORK OUT OF HOME)

I am very khush! Have discovered amazing home baking talent. Here are   some of the results of my latest #whatshottastingsession.

HERES HOW I DID IT

Anyone  who bakes professionally out of home can take part. For the past 20 years, I have been regularly  conducting these  sessions (in Mumbai and Chennai) in order to discover and encourage home talent and to include the talented ones  in The Times Food Guide.

I was flooded with Instagrams, tweets and mail requests. I invited 21 dessert makers (and 6 gourmet tasters)  to the centrally located, evergreen Gaylord with Noel  and Robert being ever helpful.

LOOK WHO’S BAKING

Passion powers these talented women, some have switched careers, others moonlight. From strategic global account manager, engineer, fashion stylist, product manager to CA, doctor, recruitment firm director and architect. Many  are professionally trained too. From popcorn cupcakes to gluten free treats…they do it all. Please excuse my sketchy writing…to get full details you’ll have to wait for the Times Food Guide 2015

  HEALTHY YUMMIES

Sugarfree , gluten free and healthy desserts from Charvi Bubna’s “cheat clean” (Try her brown rice flour and honey brownies. 9820934080)

Eggless expert Shailee  anklesaria’s  “Sugar fairy”  makes cakes et al, super oatmeal cookies (9820246367)

Egg and gelatin-free “Choco kisses”  from  Kairvi mehta and jayshri Mehta (9820029065)

Tara kapur’s  “bombay bizarre baker”   (9820006440) caters to all those with food allergies. Go for gluten free almond cake,

 

 

CHOCOHOLIX UNITE

“Charlene and the chocolate factory” (9833258908)

Charlene Vaz specializes in truffles and chocolates with an indian twist.

Yummy Japanese chocolates by

Varsha kalani’s “okashi” 9833505747

 

DESIGNER DESSERTS

Call “the dessert table” (9867385908) Delafruz tangri and Jalpa timbadia  for super customized desserts with matching crockery and cutlery. Must try Chocolate cake with marshmallow frosting.

Shillpa Bhambri is the only exception, she’s been featured since my first book (1997), her latest fusion cupcake  was a hot seller (Cakeline 9619559433

Hand painted cakes and more by Jahan bloch ‘s “chic confections” (9930704646).

Dimple sanghvi’s   “the mad batter” . candy castle cupcakes , glitterati cookie tower (961911760)

Egg and gelatin free desserts in jars by Innovative Nishita Kamdar ‘s “JAR designs” ( try paan velvet 9819365658)

Internationally trained Shikha Murarka’s  “MishMash” s (9819766027)  sugar and fondant work ( popcorn cupcakes, a handbag cake) were delicious.

 

SWEET SURPRISES

Mango yoghurt cheesecake, red velvet cookies were Shanaz Barodawalla’s signature  “sweet flavours” ( 9890453087)”Knead with love” s Richa Lulla’s (9833480814)

biscuit base brownie with cheesecake was a hit. Good old fashioned american cakes, spiked eggnog  were some of the signatures of  Roshni Vatnani s”the vanilla bean bakery ”  (9833325822)Go for Ruchika Vyas and Kirti Vyas “house of cookies” (9167366770) especially brown butter cookie filled with caramel .  Etee poddar’s “all my sins” (9820651129) unique signature was The black forest in a chocolate cup.Anurita malik ghoshal  (from LCB Paris) baked a yum chocolate chip loaf and the LCB lemon tart. 9820267003)

Umehani rangwala’s “lovecrumbs” caters to all your cake needs (8108429266)Try Witty meha Agarwal’s “the big apple baking co”’s orange cream. 9833015376″My butter half” by yeshi chaudhary ‘s red velvet was yum. 9769299795

 

GOURMET TASTERS

Thanks foodies extraordinaire for tasting, eating, tweeting… Urvika kanoi ( professional chef who helped coordinate this tasting session.) Vasudha kejriwal ( marketing manager) Dinesh bahrani ( Head chef at Boveda)

Kritika dayal  ( at a leading magazine firm)

Ronak Rajani (  social media marketer)

Rishab verma- (LCB trained pastry chef )

 


 

WITH SHUKRAAN FROM DUBAI

A million thanks for all your Eating-out advice  in Dubai (on instagram and twitter.) Will be conducting more #whatshottastingsessions as soon as I return. If interested please contact, twitter, instagram @rashmiudaysingh  rashmiudaysingh2015@gmail.com

Review: MAINLAND CHINA ASIA KITCHEN

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Pan Oriental 

We are excited. It’s a brand new 6 week old restaurant. I swoop down with eight of my blind dates( foodie readers who Id never met except over twitter and instagram).This Pan Oriental casual eatery has been newly born to  the established  20 year old “Mainland China” family. Its more Oriental than Chinese. It’s more casual. More affordable. Is it worth going to? Nine of us troop down, eat, tweet and instagram for three and half hours. Our review follows…

DÉCOR We all love the mega-voltage energy of the colorful ambiance. Ride up the escalator in the gleaming Oberoi mall and walk into a vibrant, high-ceilinged hall. Buzzing open kitchen, Oriental grocery shop front décor, with a retail shelf hanging over the kitchen fitted with long ladder on rails, walls plastered with street scenes of countries of the Far East.

FOOD On the subtle-to-blunt spectrum, the food here falls almost smack in the middle. It serves up the popular dishes of Mainland China  and also  some Japanese, Korean, Thai, Vietnamese and Burmese ones. Robust flavors gallop across our taste buds, be it the Dynamite tofu (lives upto it’s name)  the crisp sambal fish made more lively with salsa and intensely flavored Black pepper chicken. Chatpatta Kimchi rice too. Flavorsome curries be it the Thai green or the Burmese Khao suey (complete with crunchy condiments) here. Amongst the more subtle and steamed dishes the plump chicken  suimai is worth trying, but it’s maestro Chef Rajesh Dubey’s the unerringly cooked Seabass sparkled with Tamari sauce and presented with panache that dazzles.Infact, creative presentation marks many a dish… eg balls of dynamite tofu served in a Martini glass. Desserts are above par, but it’s the feathery sponge that is drizzled with luscious sweet caramel  to wickedly flavorful effect

MINUS POINTS Gloopy sushi , undercooked prawns in the Thai  curry, lackluster  Mee Goreng lamb and  the Korean Bulgogi (we try the mock meat version) is not authentic but tasteless too. A thick sticky skin clasps the vegetarian dimsum. We try booking ahead, but because of their no reservations policy, end up waiting for our table. When full (like it is when we visit it) the restaurant can get very noisy.

MY POINT A brilliant concept, executed with gusto and delivered in a vibrant, high ceilinged ambiance,  bar  et al. The food is a mixture of appealing and ho-hum. But it almost always delivers high-impact flavors (well presented plates) at relatively low-impact prices, (Rs 1000, meal for 2).

Anjan Chatterjee’s  Mainland China’s Asia Kitchen is not about fine dining, but  Fun dining.

MAINLAND CHINA ASIA KITCHEN, Oberoi mall, Film city Road, Goregaon East. 28423141 9322249924 Open lunch and dinner RATING FOOD 3.5 SERVIE 3.5 DÉCOR 3.5


1(1)MEET MY FOODIE BLIND DATES

Whoa!  Take a look at the photo and you ‘ll know what fun 9 strangers can have together simply because we are foodies. I invite them over twitter and instagram and they travel from far and wide. I love meeting each one…from the corporate lawyer and chef to belly dancer  by passion. Kavita Tejnani certified Yoga Instructor, finsancial insurance advisor, thoughtfully brings Sindhi sweets and a thank you note.Passionate belly dancer, Chitra Kannan  the Vice President of  a packaging company , Jyoti Narula Ranjan  @jnrispartof techie turned entreprenuer is now building @SynTalk.  @priyahgandhi  a  corporate lawyer between jobs and @theglobalfoodie Urvika Kanoi  a classically trained chef from LCB ( setting up her own restaurant soon) all share their views. The fit foodie @KamathGurudutt and the HR professional @elsonsequiera are the two gallant males amongst us.  Adding even more fun to the lunch is Perzen Patel  better known as @BawiBride, a  Marketing Manager by day and Parsi caterer/food blogger by evening. Needless to add all of us love to cook, eat, tweet, blog, instagram and yes we all enjoy Mainland China Asia Kitchen.

P.S Join in. Be my next foodie date email rashmiudaysingh.instafriends@gmail.com, twitter, instagram @rashmiudaysingh

Review: LA FOLIE (Tea salon, patisserie, chocolaterie)

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LA FOLIE

Tea salon, patisserie, chocolaterie

19 I confess. I’m a dessertaholic and a chocoholic. So, I conduct three tasting sessions at this new French-inspired Patisserie, Chocolaterie and tea salon. I land up in La Folie, when I go to do a clothes trial (her boutique is next to La Folie) to the dynamic and multi-talented Shaina NC’s boutique. This to walk the ramp (with Vivek Jain) for the mammoth 7000 audience, celebrity studded fund raiser for Cancerpatients for which Shaina made time inspite of her hectic electioneering. I do a marathon hour long tasting with patissieur  extraordinaire, Cordon Bleu trained Firoza Moos ( pay bill of Rs 5015). The third tasting feedback is on twitter and instagram.

THE FRENCH CONNECTION

Another confession…I don’t know the French language at all, inspite of spending years in Paris while writing my foodbook. So  interpreting  “La Folie’s” French words is tough, but Ive had the good fortune to interview and taste all Sanjana Patels French mentor’s (Alain Ducasse et al) creations. Less than two months ago, I not only ate Pierre Herme’s  patisserie but also flew down to Delhi to anchor Pierre Herme’s interview for a national magazine’s conclave.

DÉCOR

Wedged into  Kala Ghoda La Folie is a small, stark space with tables and a  dark wood bench running along one wall. It seats 8 to 10.  Quite a contrast to the ornate French La Duree with it’s jewel box looks.

FOOD

There’s a catwalk here too…behind the glassed off counter, gleaming superstar desserts  preen and strut…  pralines,  truffles, macarons, entremets ( that French for textural layered desserts) theres a huge choice of teas and coffee too.

Hero #1 is the“100% Chocolat” dense and moist with a dark chocolate cake base, crispy praline, bitter chocolate mousse capped off with  chocolate fondant. Heroine #1

Rouge Velour (big fat, bright  red rose)  moist, zesty lemony sponge cake with strawberry compote Supporting hero #1  Infinite Caramel seasalt cream with hazelnut praline and milk chocolate. Child star#1  Colorful candy cake layered with Mentos, Éclair Nutties and marshmallow.

Full marks to  La Folie’s slim chocolate squares…single origin Venezuelan and Equador chocolate truffles.   Macarons (lemon grass and basil, pop rock candy ) delight.

MINUS POINTS

Timing: though they say they open at 11am, at both our tastings, they were not open till 12 noon. A lot of the menu is not available…Black Forrest,  tarts, Viennoiserie, cookies, tea time cakes and hot chocolate. Some of the non-chocolatey patisserie, like the raspberry litchi Damask,mango lemon Pabana are too gelatinous for my liking. Some complain about the high price.

.

MY POINT

La Folie’s Sanjana’s French-grounded creations bridge the classically saucy decadence of the past and the progressive derring-do of a new generation.

She treads the right middle ground between hyper-imaginative artistry and molten chocolate pandering. Ofcourse it is expensive ( Rs 215 to 235 for a pastry, Rs 75 macaron) but worth it. Now, if only the whole menu was available, the opening timing fine tuned, some of the desserts less gelatinous. I fell in love with it gradually, not all at once. The experience had a sweetness all its own.

 

TWITTER AND INSTAGRAM FEEDBACK

Thanks  for your poetic responses to La Folie,  space constrains me from printing all  “ To call La Folie “superb” is an understatement” (@nehads12) “game changer” (@priyamganeriwal) “Taking desserts to a whole new level” (@brandedbawi)“Every penny is worth being spent…world class ingredients ( @nehathacker07)  “Better than Pierre Herme (@ urvashipunwani) I love (@priyashamdasaninichani)“definitely one of the best in the country” (@theglobalfoodie)  Thanks @etiennedmarques @mewsaliday @foodiebevdi, Manan Modi  for your feedback.

@stuli1989 way too expensive.  too rich (@ virajsahah)

Disappointing mango tart (@brandedbawi)

. But those interested please see twitter, instagram @rashmiudaysingh for dessert pics and responses.

La Folie 16 Commerce House, Rope Walk Lane, Next to Trishna. Kala Ghoda, Fort  Ph 6772 2181. Daily 11am-11pm.

RATING FOOD 4 SERVICE 3.5 DECOR 3

Restaurant Review: Makhan

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MAKHAN

Marwari, Gujarati, chaat

Dissapointing. That one word sums up the whole review of Makhan in Kalbadevi. I love diving into the cacophonic, colorful Kalbadevi area, but my excitement to check out this new pure vegetarian eatery from the Brijwasi mithai chain was short-lived. Sadly.

DÉCOR

Functional décor marks the smallish air conditioned space with it’s mithai counter running alongside. Stainless steel tables and  ochre walls complete the decor. A narrow staircase leads to the even smaller mexanine area (open for dinner only.)
FOOD

MakhanI ate alone… with determination and (you’ll agree) with optimism and hope.  Please take a look at the accompanying photograph…I   tasted my way through all those dishes (with the hope of coming across delicious ones, the eternal optimist that I am). But it is only the Delhi dahi bada papdi chaat (I hold close up) drizzled with tamarind chutney and squishy and crisp under the chilled dahi that delights. Crisp pappad chudi and  the robustly spiced Samosa chaat are just about above par.

They also serve Upvas food (which includes French fries) and  thalis. (Rs 130  to sp Rs 240).

 

MINUS POINTS

The Marwari and Gujarati fare (which I absolutely love) is either  undercooked, overcooked or just plain dull that no measure or mingling of seasonings could save it.

While the Kair sanger  is okayish the accompanying parathas  are greasy, the stuffed pyaz paratha  is doughy.  My most favorite Dal batti and it’s soggy churma disappoints. As does the watery Gattey ki sabzi with  oily thin ajwain paratha. Jodhpur’s famous Mirchi vada  is crisp  but  stone cold. Can the silky superb Gujarati kadhi actually be rendered so tasteless? Ditto for the Punjabi kadhi and the stodgy Gujarati Handvo. The bhaturas  are plump but kacha and the cholley tasteless. Ofcourse,  the Dhansak is not even a pale imitation of the Parsi original. I could go on listing the dishes I ate, but suffice it to say that  it’s all below par and all the accompanying rotis, bhakris, parathas are undercooked and overgreased.

Parking is impossible.

MY POINT

Im a Kalbadevi area addict. Shree Thacker Bhojnalaya tops my reasons for popping in to this throbbing, pulsating part of the city.

Im a fan of the exquisite gourmet vegetarian Gujarati and Marwari cuisines. So that’s why I determinedly ate my way alone through Makhan’s menu (paid Rs 2000, no credit cards accepted) .  Generously portioned dishes, modestly priced (meal for 2, Rs  300- 400), swift service but none of these reasons make up for the food which lacks luster. And which (heres that word again) disappoints.

 

Makhan 192/194 Kalbadevi Road, Opposite the Cotton Exchange, Kalbadevi (2240-2597). Open  noon- 11pm. Meal for two R300-R400

RATING FOOD 2 SERVICE 3.5  DÉCOR 3


 

 

CHEAPANDCHEERFUL

Been flooded. Overwhelmed. A zillion thanks for all your recommendation on twitter, email and instagram Awesome recommendations from South Indian Udipis to Bengali Roll places, and from Chaat corners to Dessert shops, we’ve got it all.

@HungryMumbai @WheelsOnOurFeet @rbhotica @DelishDirection @Rulerofmind @RassiBomb @ZeniaIrani thanks ever so much. Sorry cant thank each and every one of you, due to space constraint, but look forward to hearing from you on rashmiudaysingh2014@gmail.com, twitter and instagram @rashmiudaysingh and eating about with you too.


NEW, NEWER, NEWEST

Tried. Tested. Tasted. It doesn’t get any better than this. Find out the latest about the greatest, know all about the brand new restaurant openings from the chotta to the motta all delivered to you with  speed, accuracy and comprehensiveness. “It’s the best biryani in South Mumbai” posted @abhinitk (on my instagram account, I still have to find out his full name) I went instantly to check out this newest, cheapandcheerful eatery and takeaway which has just opened in South Mumbai. It’s called Kyamiyaa, its seriously small, is it worth dashing down to? Is it Value for money? …  to find out more you have to log onto Timescity.com. What you waiting for?   Go for it. Tcity.me/kyamiyaa.

#CheapandCheerful Foodie Crawl Mahim – Dadar

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I’m so excited. New, spicy, foodie finds. Now, I know what Columbus mustve felt like. Except that he, the compulsive explorer  did not have the benefit of Twitter. Like I do. Heres how I went on my voyage of discovery: I tweetrequested for recommendations of “cheap and cheerful eateries”. Fabulous response (wish I could thank each one here). Shortlisted  a few in the Mahim-Dadar area. Invited three twitter buddies. @CulinaryMuse1 turned out to be the lovely Sunayan Shahani in pearls, foodblogger communicatns consultant and student. Knowledgable Parag Chaphekar marketing professional chucked up his succesful consultancy and is an aspiring restaurantowner. Rushing straight to the golf course (my mecca too) was foodie extraordinaire and ace golfer, Krishna Kilachand, he wanted to serve up the gourmet burger to Mumbai so set up “Burg”. We went on a whirlwind tasting tour of cheap and cheerful joints. We call it our #tweefoodeecrawl.  Many more are planned. Be my guest…Twitter handle @rashmiudaysingh mail rashmiudaysingh2014@gmail.com.

SnehaSNEHA (Kerala)

Simple and simply superb, also cluttered,  no frills and functional eatery from Kerala. Hot and uncomfy (inspite of the brown fans whirring overhead) we still walloped the lustily spiced Beef fry and beef biryani (beef is called sukha mutton on the menu) Equally delicious was the Mutton masala fry. While the  veg stew and appams, soybean masala  and the  Kappa (tapioca) biryani were okayish the thin flavorsome fish curry rice was amazing.  And Abraham the waiter (please see photo) charmed us. Idli dosa served at breakfast. Thalis too. After  our restaurant round, I went back at 4pm to taste the banana fritters (these are served only at tea. Thanks @ebubblewrapped   for this tip off) plump soft and crisp with golden batter. Steamed sweet panpoli too. Veggies stay away.

Shiv Sagar Society, Opp Paradise Cinema,  Mahim (W)  (2445 6330). Meal for two Rs 250

Daily 6-11pm. No alcohol. No credit cards.

RATING FOOD 4 SERVICE 3.5 DÉCOR 1

 

SAIBINI GOMANTAK (Gomantak)

Avoidable even though airconditioned, etched glass paintings et al in this small Gomantak eatery. We pecked at  lackluster Mori Masala, tisrya  and more picked out of a menu with chicken  moghlai, paneer tikka and what not. Oh yes the wade were crisp and good.

Katrada Mansion, Gokhale Road, Dadar WestTel:  24328065, 24385429

Open lunch and dinner. Meal for two Rs 400, credit cards accepted.

RATING FOOD 2 SERVICE 3 DÉCOR 3

 

 

PRAKASH (Maharashtrian)

Packed and getting more packed. We stood in the snaking line outside the simple blue table and bench hallowed home of Maharashtrian food. Till a friendly bloke gave me a tip off, “ in hurry ? order parcel”. We did just that and in the car bit into the iconic piping hot sabudana vada crisp on the outside and soft on the inside. Theres poha, thalipith, batata vada and more. Somewhat greasy but great.

Shiv Sena Bhavan, Next to Kithe Hall, Gokhale Road,  Dadar West, Tel: 24304921

Open 7.30 am to 9.30 pm. No credit cards. Meal for two Rs 150

RATING FOOD 3.5 SERVICE 3 DÉCOR 2

 

ChaitanyaCHAITANYA (Malwani)

Amazing home made jackfruit icecream, flavorsome peru sherbet, robustly spiced chicken shagoti, shimply masala, oyster masala, greasy but good bombils in this tiny two and a half table malwani eatery. Owner chef, Surekha Walke and daughter Saili bustle around and point out that their Dadar eatery (4, Shivaji Park House, L.J. Road) is moving to Prabhadevi.  Am adding their new address. Please call and check.

Prabhadevi near sahkari bazaar of agar bazaar. Chinch bhat chawl 24372242.

+91 9619909014

11 to 3pm 7 to 11pm Av meal for 2 Rs 500

RATING FOOD 3.5 SERVICE 3.5 DÉCOR 2.5

 

KAKORI HOUSE

On the same street is  the tiny biryani and kakori joint whose takeaway has been my favorite. I first feasted on Ishtiyaque Qureshis (the son of the legendary Mohammed Imtiaz Qureshi of Dum Pukht and Bukhara fame),  entire repertoire at Karishma Kapoor’s wedding lunch . Softest Kakori kabab. melt in the mouth galoti , Nihari Gosht and biryani are the stars here. Veg Sabz galawati kabab moist and dense with flavor recommended too.

L J Road, opp Paradise cinema, Mahim ph 65229211 open 11am to midnight.

Takeaway call 9320090269/

RATING

FOOD 4 SERVICE 3.5 DECOR 2.5

 

P.S. Further down from Prakash is DATTATRYA (slow indifferent service in this  Maharashtrian eatery serving a mish mash of South Indian, Punjabi,  Chinese. Humdrum thali  (Rs 75) val  and kothimbir vadi good.

Nearer the Mahim church , is the bustling, messy and popular PARAMOUNT  ( Id shared a table with taxi drivers earlier) Flavorsome mutton rashida and greasy  Butter chicken and kheema are above average . Open from 6am to midnight.

Restaurant Review: MEKONG

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Global superstar chefs Vineet Bhatia and Gaggan Anand at Mekong
Global superstar chefs Vineet Bhatia and Gaggan Anand at Mekong

It’s a record. Two “first time evers” took place while reviewing Palladium hotel’s much awaited “Mekong” which opened some months ago. I ate the first-meal on the first-day they opened (something I never do). But did so, because two globally acknowledged superstar chefs  were in town. Id eaten in  Michelin-starred Vineet Bhatias London restaurant and tripped out on his reinterpreted traditional Indian classics. Not only been blown by Bangkok based Gaggan Anand’s masterly use of molecular gastronomy in his progressive Indian cuisine but recently also cheered him for   making it to the AsiasTop 50 restaurants in Singapore. It was at this lunch that Gaggan Anand  met his hero Vineet Bhatia for the first time.  Vineet jetsets between his   restaurants in ten cities, writes  books and does TV shows.

” Yaar, Vineet is a pioneer. He has inspired me” gushes Gaggan as the stud in his ear glints as he leans forward to hug the senior chef.  The wine authority and witty Sanjay Menon joins us but prefers to be incognito. The  afternoon sparkles with their joie de vivre. Unfortunately  this joy does not extend to the food as well.

Could it be  teething troubles? So I ate four more times (paid through my nose). Except for a minor tweaking, my review remains the same.

DÉCOR

Feast on the spectacularly dramatic 37th floor view (let in by the magnificent glass windows) of the Mahalaxmi Racecourse and the sea. Happily, the theatricality here doesn’t go over the top. In this sprawling restaurant, large lamps, wine walls and Oriental artifacts seem as authentic as they are flashy. The lighting is subtle yet bright.

FOOD

 

Like the name (Mekong, named after the river) the good-looking menu meanders through Vietnam, China and Thailand but it meanders too much and so confuses and makes decision

making difficult. At each meal, the starters score over the mains. Tangy, sweet salads (Pomelo, Raw Papaya), a variety of plump dim sum (great at one meal and not so at another) and deep-fried Vietnamese rolls. Traditional Thai soups, Tom Kha Gai and homestyle Tom Yum delight. Plenty of choice for veggies, robustly spiced Ma La-style Chicken, vegetables, prawns in XO Sauce are the plus points.

MINUS POINTS

Mekong’s kitchen has ample skill. It just doesn’t have nearly enough discipline. In many entrees, the meat or fish  is so modestly portioned, overcooked or just plain dull that no measure or mingling of seasonings  save it. Mekong’s Steamed Fish is overcooked, the calibration of some dips, sauces and soups not quite right. Noodles with Seafood and Lamb in Yellow Bean are ordinary. As are the desserts. Vietnamese Pho Bo is conspicuous by its absence (though there is a Vietnamese noodle soup)  Spring Rolls lack the refreshing crunch of vegetables. Music from the neighboring bar is loud and intrusive.

MY POINT

We go there expecting a lot. We go to celebrate the sweet heat of and perfumes and flavors of Thailand, Vietnam and China ’s cooking and come away with mixed feelings.

On my fourth (most recent meal,) there was marginal improvement in some of the dishes. Also  some of the dish-prices had been tweaked downwards, others  hiked upwards.  A new dimsum chef was in place and new desserts were expected. Attentive service, well stocked bar.

Sure! Mekong is

located sky-high (literally) with prices to match, now if only the food would keep pace.

■ Palladium Hotel, 462, Senapati Bapat Marg, Lower Parel, Mumbai, Ph: 61628422

12.30pm to 3pm, 7.30pm to 11.30pm

Food-3.50 | Service-3.50 | Décor-4.00 | Meal for 2-`6000

 

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EATOUT WITH ME

Im traveling all month, but waiting to be back in town and invite you to eat out with me all  you amazingly well informed foodies who have been tweeting fabulous recommendations for #cheapandcheerful eateries. Wish I could thank each and everyone of you, but I cant (space constraint), so here are a few regular responders,  the tummy tales @elsonsequeira @RassiBomb @joymanavath @ChandniT @kneadwithlove  @DebySharma @pratishthakhan @AjitBalgi @ScrollsNink @doughmydear@akzey@ChantChameli.  All of you, please do keep mailing your recommendations (rashmiudaysingh2014@gmail.com) and tweeting and instagramming them @rashmiudaysingh

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GREAT FOOD NEWS

Our very own Indian restaurant, Amaya in London has made it to the Daily Mail’s Worlds Top 100 restaurant list. Congratulations Camellia and Namita Panjabi. and Ranjit Mathrani. You make India proud.

Restaurant review: Eddies bistro (European)

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pic for blog2What a wonderful world. I repeat. What a wonderful, helpful and yummy world. I’d never met these young and brilliant food bloggers and yet on the basis of my SOS tweets and Instagrams, they came across gallantly to help me hitchhike into the alien galaxies and solar-systems of the internet et al.

EDDIES… AN EDDIFYING EXPERIENCE

Sorry for that cheap pun but my lunch in this new, small Bandra eatery was just that… eddyfying. The dynamic and articulate food bloggers Chandni, Pratishta, Anuja, Roxanne and Kumar (please read the Box, “My Tweet-hearts” ) patiently showed me not only  the nitty gritties of tweeting and blogging and all that goes in between, but also shared their views on Eddies. Please take a look at the accompanying photograph, if it had a videotrack attached to it, here’s what you’d see… my charming guests with their cell-phones (of all shapes and sizes) taking photos of the dishes, me taking furious notes of all they advise, plenty of eating. So, what follows is a truly democratic restaurant review.

DÉCOR

Airy, cheery, narrow and smallish. The  blonde light wood and mirrored interiors give it a casual-comfy, all-day-dining bistro vibe.  A couple of plasma screens complete the décor of the well-used small space.

FOOD

We all agree that what comes out of the 26-year-old chef Nishant Mitra’s kitchen are attractively assembled dishes (dips and a dessert too served in cute cutting chai glasses) that will have diners (not just food bloggers) reaching for their cellphone cameras. What goes into his kitchen are fresh and good quality ingredients. The menu is divided into small plates and fat plates and once again we all agree that it’s the small plates that score over the mains, the burgers come out tops. Ask for the “Unbeetable beet burger” squishy firm with beet and cottage cheese as well as the perfectly juicy, moist with Harissa Mayo Mini Lamb Burger . Go for the refreshing Beetroot Carpaccio (perfectly dressed with caramelised apple vinaigrette), oven-baked discs of sweet potato made zesty with an emmental cheese and jalapeno sauce. Interesting Asian flavours peep through in the chicken plank with bok choy. We polish off the velvetty panacotta and the crazily addictive hazelnut torte. Bliss.

MINUS POINTS

In some of the dishes, the flavour pallete wasn’t just bland but blurry, with not a single clear flavour coming into focus. Getting unanimous dislike votes were the gritty Polenta Fries (albeit with yummy goat cheese dips and tomato jam) and the stodgy Mac & Cheese Bites. Okayish Grilled Prawns (inconvenient in their shells) with the pineapple and wine sangaria dip, the strange marriage of the Russian Strogonoff and Italian Risotto (and the overcooked chicken) didn’t work. No valet parking.

MY POINT

Here it is.  A truly democratic restaurant review. The acid test of a restaurant: will you go back? All my guests (except one) will surely do so. Me too. Unpretentious, casual, well-presented European (with a few Asian flavours too) “small” and “fat plates”, plenty for vegetarians, must-try burgers, some salads and superb desserts. Eddies serves up comfort with a bit of spin and a dash of international sophistication, comfort with a cheeky tweak.

Meal for two Rs 1,800 approx

Rating:
Food: 3.5
Service: 3.5
Décor: 3.5

EDDIES BISTRO
Shop No. 6, Silver Croft Bldg,
16th and 33rd Road Junction,
Bandra (W).
Call 022-26002637